Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders 'on the fly': insights from Drosophila
SourceDisease Models & Mechanisms, 12, 5, (2019), article dmm039180
Article / Letter to editor
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Disease Models & Mechanisms
SubjectRadboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Intellectual disability (ID) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are frequently co-occurring neurodevelopmental disorders and affect 2-3% of the population. Rapid advances in exome and genome sequencing have increased the number of known implicated genes by threefold, to more than a thousand. The main challenges in the field are now to understand the various pathomechanisms associated with this bewildering number of genetic disorders, to identify new genes and to establish causality of variants in still-undiagnosed cases, and to work towards causal treatment options that so far are available only for a few metabolic conditions. To meet these challenges, the research community needs highly efficient model systems. With an increasing number of relevant assays and rapidly developing novel methodologies, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is ideally positioned to change gear in ID and ASD research. The aim of this Review is to summarize some of the exciting work that already has drawn attention to Drosophila as a model for these disorders. We highlight well-established ID- and ASD-relevant fly phenotypes at the (sub)cellular, brain and behavioral levels, and discuss strategies of how this extraordinarily efficient and versatile model can contribute to 'next generation' medical genomics and to a better understanding of these disorders.
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